As it turned out, the Eclectic Style wasn't the only thing that came down in the world. Slumming around with the bent bicycle wheels & splintered bushel baskets that were stored in the art room prop closet--and missing part of his plaster nose besides--Apollo no longer looked like much, but he had probably started out, I later learned, at the very top: First on Mount Olympus, then at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where blinding white (and electrically lit) classic style buildings stretched for an entire mile along the shores of Lake Michigan.
A few years back, I saved this handsome five-foot section of the Parthenon frieze from probable destruction. Of course, that's what Lord Elgin said, too, but in this case, it's absolutely true, since I found it in the neighbor's trash pile.
My marble urn, on the other hand, is probably worth more than everything else I own, all put together. I had always assumed it was a Victorian piece--and the top, with its carved figure of a grieving woman really is a Victorian replacement of a missing lid--but a few years ago, after my first visit to the newly-installed Classic galleries in the former Dorotheum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I realized that my urn may actually be older than I thought--lots older.
Photo copyright metmuseum.org
This incredible piece dates to Second Century Rome, and, with its refined double strigilation & elegant serpent handles, it makes my simpler version look a poor country relation, but mine has the same elegant shape, and the fact that my urn has a lid gives it a distinct practical advantage over the one in New York: that is, in summer, I can store my winter scarves in there. You can't do that with the Met's. You can't even touch the thing.
Speaking of which--winter, that is--I didn't make it to the Winter Antiques Show after all, this year. I never go on Thursday because Opening Night tickets are $1000 a pop, or more than I budget for the entire week, but by Friday afternoon, I'm usually either zooming off to O'Hare or--if I have more time--down to Union Station to take Amtrak: the train is generally more fun. But this year, as I said, I never made it out of town. Then again, on Friday, no one was going anywhere. Not out of Chicago, they weren't. But it was OK.
Photo copyright by Opacity at Flickr.com
In the end, of course, it all balanced out. Because as much as I was hoping to make it to The Winter Antiques Show this year, if I had been in New York on Friday night, I would have missed this view from my bedroom window.
And on a night like last Friday--antiques or no antiques--there really is no place like home